Players from the Kurobe Aqua Fairies volleyball team promote Kurobe Gorge Railway Co.'s diesel locomotive driver experience event in Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture. (Mamoru Takatsu)

KUROBE, Toyama Prefecture--A railway company here has made rail fans’ dreams come true by offering them the chance to drive a diesel locomotive.

Kurobe Gorge Railway Co. is running its first driver experience event for the public through mid-March at Unazuki Station, where its 20-km line along the Kurobegawa river starts.

The event is designed to attract tourists to Unazuki Onsen hot spring near the station because the railway service is suspended in winter due to risk of avalanche.

The hour-long event starts with a brief lecture on how to drive the vehicle and a breathalyzer test.

Participants will sit in the driver’s seat to learn how to operate the accelerator and brake from an experienced driver.

Then comes what promises to be the highlight--making two round trips on the single-car DD24 diesel locomotive along a 150-meter stretch of rail track.

Anyone aged 10 or older can participate in the event for a fee of 8,000 yen ($73).

The event is held between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays through March 18, except Feb. 24 and Feb. 25.

Booking is required at least five days in advance, or seven days if the preferred date is a Friday.

Elementary and junior high school students are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, but they are allowed to board the locomotive alone.